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Medication May Increase Risk of Falls for Elderly Patients

Written by Ankin Law Office

Most people over 70 years of age have high blood pressure, or hypertension, which increases the risk for heart attacks and stroke. Accordingly, a significant number of seniors use blood pressure medications, such as diuretics like Tenoretic, beta blockers like Lopressor, and ACE inhibitors, to manage the health risks of high blood pressure.

While blood pressure medications may help prevent certain medical conditions, it can also put elderly persons at risk of other injuries. For instance, a new study revealed that older people who take blood pressure medications may be more susceptible to fall injuries than elderly persons who are not taking blood pressure medication.

According to Reuters, researchers looked at existing, publicly available data on hospitalizations after a serious fall for almost 5,000 patients over 70 with hypertension. Researchers divided the patients into three groups of medication “intensity” based on dosage and number of different medications taken. Of the patients who were hospitalized for a serious fall, 55 percent were on a moderate-intensity drug regimen and 31 percent were on a high-intensity drug regimen, whereas only 14 percent were taking no blood pressure medications at all. Among those patients who were taking blood pressure medications, more than one-third were taking at least three different kinds of blood pressure medications.

Based on the data, researchers found that patients in the moderate-intensity medication group were 1.4 times as likely to suffer a serious injury from a fall, and those in the high intensity group were 1.3 times as likely, than those in the no-medication group. Researchers noted, however, that overall the increased risk was still small.

Nursing home patients are particularly vulnerable to fall injuries. In fact, fall injuries are the leading cause of preventable emergency room visits for nursing home residents. Even nursing home falls that do not result in a fracture or serious injury can result in a fear of falling that can lead to a loss of function, social isolation and depression.

For some patients, the benefits of blood pressure medication may outweigh the risks of fall injuries. It is important that patients and their doctors make decisions about their treatment and health care options on an individual basis. If you have doubts about your medical treatment, you may want to get a second opinion.

You may also want to consult with a medical malpractice attorney, who can help you understand whether you might have a legal claim for medical malpractice.

At Ankin Law Office, LLC, our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys focus on representing the victims of medical malpractice in lawsuits against negligent doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care providers. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident or have doubts about the medical care that you are receiving, contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Chicago medical malpractice attorneys.

Categories: Medical Malpractice